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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Plant Physiology: Tie-dyed2 encodes a callose synthase that functions in vein development which affects symplastic trafficking within the phloem of maize leaves

Plant Physiology: Tie-dyed2 encodes a callose synthase that functions in vein development which affects symplastic trafficking within the phloem of maize leaves | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Never underestimate the power of an image! When I saw this abstract, about the gene affected in the tie-dyed2 maize mutant, I immediately recalled this striking cover from Plant Physiology in 2006, about tie-dyed1 (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/142/4/1511.abstract).

 

The tie-dyed2 mutant has a similarly pretty, variagated phenotype, and tells us something about vascular tissue development and function. Nice mutants, and nice work!

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Trends in Plant Science - SOS – too many signals for systemic acquired resistance?

Trends in Plant Science - SOS – too many signals for systemic acquired resistance? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Great! Nice update on the state of systemic acquired resistance, and FREE!

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"Knowledge is Power", but what did Francis Bacon have to say about science?

"Knowledge is Power", but what did Francis Bacon have to say about science? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

He was pretty keen on science too, and compared scientists to bees, who not only gather material, but transform it - here's the full quote:

 

‘Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas.The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes the middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy (science); for it neither relies solely or chiefly on the powers of the mind, nor does it take the matter which it gathers from natural history and mechanical experiments and lay up in the memory whole, as it finds it, but lays it up in the understanding altered and digested. Therefore, from a closer and purer league between these two faculties, the experimental and the rational (such as has never been made), much may be hoped.’
Francis Bacon (1620), Novum Organum

 

(Thanks to ARIEL NOVOPLANSKY - this quote comes from his paper "Developmental plasticity in plants: implications of noncognitive behavior")

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Plant Cell: Small Signaling Peptides in Arabidopsis Development: How Cells Communicate Over a Short Distance

Plant Cell: Small Signaling Peptides in Arabidopsis Development: How Cells Communicate Over a Short Distance | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's a great new review that discusses small secreted peptides and their roles in development, including roles in patterning the meristems and guard cells, and pollen development. The review also points to the major gaps that remain in our knowlege of these small secreted signals.

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Simon Chan (1974 - 2012) Video - Plant Breeding Breakthrough

Here's a video from 2010 in which the late Simon Chan describes the remarkable development of true-breeding, double haploid plants, and the implications of this work. 

Here's the article in Nature that describes that finding http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7288/full/nature08842.html

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The Scientist Gardener: Monsanto's GM Drought Tolerant Corn

The Scientist Gardener: Monsanto's GM Drought Tolerant Corn | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

How "DroughtGard" corn was developed - fascinating!

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Adjuncts' Working Conditions Affect Student Learning,

Chronicle of Higher Education: Adjuncts' Working Conditions Affect Student Learning, | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Who Is Professor 'Staff', and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes?"

Illuminating study about how relying on adjunct faculty to cover teaching affects student outcomes, not to mention the conditions that adjunct faculty  often face.

 

This report from June has more: http://chronicle.com/article/A-Dismal-Picture-of-Life-as/132421/

 

Here's the site of the "New Faculty Majority" "dedicated to improving the quality of higher education by advancing professional equity and securing academic freedom for all adjunct and contingent faculty"

http://newfacultymajority.info/equity/

 

And here's another look at the hardships endured by adjuncts: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/08/2012820102749246453.html

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Nature: Tolerance of phosphorus deficiency in traditional rice

Nature: Tolerance of phosphorus deficiency in traditional rice | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Phosphorus is a limiting nutrient in soil, and globally. This new Nature article, by a group of researchers at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and collaborators, identifies a gene from traditional rice varieties that confers tolerance to phosphorus limitation.

Furthermore,

"Here we show that overexpression of PSTOL1 in [modern] varieties significantly enhances grain yield in phosphorus-deficient soil. Further analyses show that PSTOL1 acts as an enhancer of early root growth, thereby enabling plants to acquire more phosphorus and other nutrients."

 

Here's the News and Views analysis

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7412/full/488466a.html

and the article

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7412/full/nature11346.html

 

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(OA) Plant Cell: Ontogeny of the Maize Shoot Apical Meristem. Peering deeply into the developing SAM

(OA) Plant Cell: Ontogeny of the Maize Shoot Apical Meristem. Peering deeply into the developing SAM | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

What is a meristem and where does it come from? How about looking at all the genes expressed before and during meristem organization!

 

"Laser microdissection of apical domains from developing maize embryos and seedlings was combined with RNA sequencing for transcriptomic analyses of SAM ontogeny. Molecular markers of key events during maize embryogenesis are described, and comprehensive transcriptional data from six stages in maize shoot development are generated."

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Science communication - "Listen more". Dan Kahan, and an appeal for help

Science communication - "Listen more". Dan Kahan, and an appeal for help | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Dan Kahan has some provacative ideas about science communication. You can find his ideas in a Nature essay here: http://www.nature.com/news/why-we-are-poles-apart-on-climate-change-1.11166

and

a Nature climate change article here: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1547.html

 

And  in a very engaging 16 minute video here, from a talk he gave at the recent Sackler Symposium on science communication: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5fBkivqa78

 

Take home message: Want to communicate better? Listen more.

 

Have ideas?

This from a group of Australian scientists who are working towards improved communication about climate change, and they want to hear your thoughts about their approach.

http://theconversation.edu.au/help-needed-can-you-fix-the-science-society-divide-8752

 

"At the heart of this is a recognition that if we scientists are going to contribute to solving the world’s problems, then we’re going to have to start paying more attention to the people who will use our research. We’re going to have to start listening."

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Gene Silencing in Arabidopsis Spreads from Root to Shoot, through nonvascular, Cell-to-Cell Movement

Gene Silencing in Arabidopsis Spreads from Root to Shoot, through nonvascular, Cell-to-Cell Movement | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is from Plant Physiology in May (OA) and it's very interesting. I like the fact that it uses a cool, high-tech appraoch to address a pretty fundmental question about how things move in plants - it's a good one for students.

 

And don't miss this new review from Plant Science: "“And yet it moves”: Cell-to-cell and long-distance signaling by plant microRNAs" here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168945212001525 (thanks @iSargantana!)

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For sale: Journal Cover Posters -Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. $10 or 6 for $50, includes postage

For sale: Journal Cover Posters -Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. $10 or 6 for $50, includes postage | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Great gifts!

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Training: Workshops that work : Naturejobs

Training: Workshops that work : Naturejobs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Seminars on career alternatives and soft skills can provide crucial tips for advancement. But some workshops are more helpful than others.
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Job satisfaction: Turbulent times : Naturejobs

Job satisfaction: Turbulent times : Naturejobs | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Nature's 2012 Salary and Satisfaction Survey suggests that many scientists are content with their work, but uneasy about finances.
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Top 10 Clever Uses for Dropbox

Top 10 Clever Uses for Dropbox | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Dropbox is an awesome service. You can back your files up to the cloud, sync them between computers, and share them with your friends. That's not all it can do, though.

 

Here are our top 10 favorite clever uses for our favorite file syncing program.


Note: If you don't use Dropbox, don't fret—you can do most of these things with any file syncer you want, whether it's SkyDrive, Google Drive, Cubby, or something else.

 

Read more:

http://lifehacker.com/5933884/top-10-clever-uses-for-dropbox

 


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Plant Physiology Labs for undergraduates?

Plant Physiology Labs for undergraduates? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Several people have asked for help finding lab exercises for undergraduate students. Here are some places to look:

 

ABLE is the Association for Biology Laboratory Education, and has loads of good peer-reviewed biology labs, including 148 tagged as "plant biology" (http://www.ableweb.org/proceedings/SPT--BrowseResources.php?FieldId=80). Most are open-access. 

 

The journal Cell Biology Education (CBE - http://www.lifescied.org/) also has some suitable labs including "A Study of Rubisco through Western Blotting and Tissue Printing Techniques" (http://www.lifescied.org/content/8/2/140.abstract?sid=11f0bb7d-9163-4f15-8523-d0ba3dfc5ce2)

as does the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Science Education, including "A Novel Experimental Design for Examining Bryophyte Response to Increased Ultraviolet Radiation" (https://www.agronomy.org/publications/jnrlse/articles/38/1/27?highlight=).

 

Starting with really durable exercises that work with younger students can be helpful, and both Wisconsin Fast Plants and Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) are experts at developing "fool-proof" activities. Here are some suitable for older students from WFP (http://fastplants.org/resources/digital_library/index.php?P=BrowseResources&ParentId=217) and SAPS (http://www.saps.org.uk/secondary/teaching-resources)

 

Simlarly, these 12 activities developed to accompany the "12 principles of plang biology" are designed for younger students but can be launching off points for inquiry by older students (http://tinyurl.com/c2crwuu).

 

Finally, one of the classics is the book "Experiments in Plant Physiology", published in 1994 by Carol Reiss (http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Experiments-in-Plant-Physiology/9780137012855.page). You might be able to find a copy through a library, or ask other people in your department if they've got one. And for general tips, here's a good article from Carol called "Teaching a Plant Physiology Laboratory for the First Time?" (http://my.aspb.org/members/group_content_view.asp?group=72494&id=100286)

 

I'd be happy to post other resources if anyone has any to share (hint hint)

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Habib Athar's curator insight, January 24, 4:34 AM

This is useful for undergraduate students for their lab exercises

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Wonderful story - Tracking infectious outbreaks by their genomes

Wonderful story - Tracking infectious outbreaks by their genomes | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

What a fascinating story - it reads like a pitch for a movie or novel , with genome scientists coming to the rescue.

 

Here's the article itself: http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/4/148/148ra116

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Commentaries and Letters to the Editor of The Plant Cell on recognition specificity of the FLS2 receptor (2012)

Does the Arabidopsis receptor FLS2 respond to CLV3 and Ax21 peptides? "The editors of The Plant Cell feel that they have taken responsibility for opening up the scientific debate on FLS2 and innate immune signaling, and they have gone as far as possible to ensure a fair and balanced discussion of issues of particular interest to its readership":

 

Cathie Martin. Commentaries and Letters to the Editor of The Plant Cell http://tinyurl.com/d6mgbmf

 

Katharina Mueller, Delphine Chinchilla, Markus Albert, Anna K. Jehle, Hubert Kalbacher, Thomas Boller, and Georg Felix. Contamination Risks in Work with Synthetic Peptides: flg22 as an Example of a Pirate in Commercial Peptide Preparations http://tinyurl.com/c2u3pr6

 

Cécile Segonzac, Zachary L. Nimchuk, Martina Beck, Paul T. Tarr, Silke Robatzek, Elliot M. Meyerowitz, and Cyril Zipfel. The Shoot Apical Meristem Regulatory Peptide CLV3 Does Not Activate Innate Immunity http://tinyurl.com/bslnq4o

 

Horim Lee, Ashok Khatri, Julia M. Plotnikov, Xue-Cheng Zhang, and Jen Sheen. Complexity in Differential Peptide–Receptor Signaling: Response to Segonzac et al. and Mueller et al. Commentaries http://tinyurl.com/c2csqm3

 

Cristian H. Danna, Xue-Cheng Zhang, Ashok Khatri, Andrew F. Bent, Pamela C. Ronald, and Frederick M. Ausubel. FLS2-Mediated Responses to Ax21-Derived Peptides: Response to the Mueller et al. Commentary http://tinyurl.com/d2a36cr

 

Mueller et al. also used the CLV3 peptide as negative control in this Plant cell paper: http://tinyurl.com/bszkm24

 

These are the two contested papers:

 

Danna, C.H., Millet, Y.A., Koller, T., Han, S.W., Bent, A.F., Ronald, P.C., and Ausubel, F.M. (2011). The Arabidopsis flagellin receptor FLS2 mediates the perception of Xanthomonas Ax21 secreted peptides. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 9286–9291. http://tinyurl.com/brwkb4w

 

Lee, H., Chah, O.-K., and Sheen, J. (2011). Stem-cell-triggered immunity through CLV3p-FLS2 signalling. Nature 473: 376–379. http://tinyurl.com/3thgqut


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Naturejobs: Job applications: Straight to the top of the pile :

Naturejobs: Job applications: Straight to the top of the pile : | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

For those entering the job-hunting season, here is a nice overview of different types and styles of CVs, and the different formats expected in different countries. Good luck!

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PLOS One: Worth A Thousand Words

PLOS One: Worth A Thousand Words | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Henning T, Weigend M (2012) Total Control – Pollen Presentation and Floral Longevity in Loasaceae (Blazing Star Family) Are Modulated by Light, Temperature and Pollinator Visitation Rates. PLoS ONE 7(8): e41121. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041121

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PLOS Biology: “Why Do We Have to Learn This Stuff?”—A New Genetics for 21st Century Students

PLOS Biology: “Why Do We Have to Learn This Stuff?”—A New Genetics for 21st Century Students | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I like this approach. Instead of sitting down with a textbook and designing a course, sit down and think about what makes the most sense to teach your students, now, with an emphasis on contemporary questions and methods. That's what we're doing with Teaching Tools in Plant Biology! Furtheremore, by following a different trajectory than high school courses, students won't feel that they're repeating material, and be more attentive.

 

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PLoS Genetics: How PRR proteins recognize RNA sequences

PLoS Genetics: How PRR proteins recognize RNA sequences | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Yet another code cracked! 

 

The authors introduce this paper by referring to earlier findings that DNA sequences bound by TALE proteins correspond to sequence of the protein, meaning that site-specific DNA proteins can be designed.

 

This new article uncovers the code that confers the specificity by which PPR (pentatricopeptide repeat) proteins bind RNA, paving the way for designed RNA-binding proteins.

 

Here is their conclusion:

"PPR proteins play essential roles in all eucaryotes by enabling the expression of specific mitochondrial and chloroplast genes. Even for well-studied PPR proteins ... the exact binding sites still await discovery. The results and approaches described here offer the potential to eliminate this bottleneck by permitting candidate sites to be postulated from simple sequence analysis, providing information that will have broad application in the medical and agricultural sciences".

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Nature Insight: Chemistry and Energy. Good set of review articles

Nature Insight: Chemistry and Energy. Good set of review articles | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Don't miss this excellent collection of review articles from Nature this week, including a very interesting review about algal biofuel production.

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Can a chemistry lab be taught by distance learning? YES it can! CHM-107 LAB Home Page

Can a chemistry lab be taught by distance learning? YES it can! CHM-107 LAB Home Page | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here is a brilliant example of how to make science engaging and accessible. It's an introductory chemistry course with a focus on chemistry, society and the environment. Students have to buy a kit, but then carry out the investigations at home. The investigations themselves focus on the chemistry of the home environment, including analysis of tap water, ozone, car exhaust etc.

 

If you're not convinced, check out the pictures of the students doing the at-home labs: Notice that this format allows the students to share the experience with friends and children!

http://www.chemistryland.com/CHM107Lab/StudentsDoingChemistry/ExportingChemistry.htm

 

A priori I don't think that distance learning can fully match the experience of meeting with a class and instructor, but I'm also aware that many universities are severely cutting out the lab component of their curriculum due to budget cuts. I think this course can inspire us to think creatively about the possibility of developing an at-home introductory-level lab curriculum.

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Ask your students - what happens when the parasite meets the symbiont!

Ask your students - what happens when the parasite meets the symbiont! | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

We've seen lots of studies of how parasitic plants find and attach to host plants, and the interactions between host plants and symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, but what happens to the host plant when you first inoculate the parasite with the AM fungi?

This would be a good question to pose to your students - it requires synthesis and analysis, higher-order thinking! Find the answer here and in this paper from Annals of Botnay http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/109/6/1075

 

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